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Kenya and SA Roll up Sleeves in George Sevens
Revenge and continental supremacy should underline today’s George Sevens when host and defending champions South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe face off in the day one action.

South Africa, who are also the IRB World Sevens Series champions, have all the reasons to be cautious when they take Kenya on.

Kenya are seething with rage following a controversial last-minute try by Ryno Benjamin that saw the Springboks beat them 19-14 in a highly-charged Plate semi-final at the Dubai Sevens last weekend. The Kenyans felt aggrieved that the referee awarded the try, yet Benjamin had not placed the ball as required.

The Boks victory also followed another disputed Main Cup quarter-final between Kenya and New Zealand, where referee Jason Jaftha from South Africa gave the All Blacks a suspicious penalty in the dying minutes.

Ben Souness scored to give his team a 17-14 win and advance.

All-African final

Nevertheless, the last one year has been marked with great rivalry between the two continental giants, especially after Kenya finally had the Springboks’ scalps, beating them 22-7 at Wellington Sevens last season.

Although the Springboks were to claim a swift revenge at Adelaide Sevens where they outclassed Kenya 26-7 in the main cup final, history had already been made. It was also the first time an all-Africa outfit was featuring in a final of an IRB event.

Kenya’s meteoric rise last season was not by chance as they affirmed their prowess to beat the All Blacks 24-7 in San Diego.

Apart from the urge to tame the Boks in their backyard, the Kenyans are also thirsting to better their record in George. Kenya has only reached the main cup quarter-finals in George once and last year they were knocked out 14-19 by France in the Bowl semi-finals. 

Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, France, Zimbabwe Pool B: Fiji, Australia, Portugal, Russia Pool C: New Zealand, Wales, Samoa USA Pool D: Scotland, England, Argentina, Tunisia

Last December, South Africa won their home title for the first time, a proven core of players handling the pressure-cooker atmosphere with aplomb to send the thousands of home fans into delirious excitement.

In doing so, they also won back-to-back titles for the first time, having won the opening event in Dubai the weekend before.

Before their clash with the Springboks starting at 9.38pm, Kenya will have to tackle Zimbabwe in their opening group A match from 3.16pm.

Rapidly improving Zimbabwe have given Kenya a few scares before but the East Africans have always emerged winners several times. The match will be followed by the clash against France from 6.22pm. France was one of the first sides to feel the force of an emerging Kenya and coach Benjamin Ayimba will be quietly confident even though Les Bleu did well in Dubai.

Ayimba said his pattern shall remain the same even as Andrew Amonde and Naftali Bondo flew to George to replace Sydney Ashioya and Leon Adongo, who did duty in Dubai. Ayimba is targeting to win the group and cruise all the way to the main cup final.

“The system remains the same with the inclusion of the two players,” Ayimba said, “We are planning to a bit more street-wise leaving nothing to chance especially on 50-50 calls.”

Having declared “war” on his younger brother Collins Injera, the tussle can only be mouth-watering with skipper Humphrey Kayange leading the charge. The brothers were in top form to score six tries each in Dubai but Kayange had vowed to surpass Injera’s mark of 42 tries, a feat he achieved last season.

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